US Army Corps of Engineers
Charleston District

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Charleston District History

  • 1775- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is established
  • 1821- Corps presence in Charleston begins
  • 1826- Construction of Fort Moultrie and Fort Johnson
  • 1829- Construction of Fort Sumter
  • Early civil projects by the Corps included erosion control at Sullivan’s Island beginning in 1829, and maintenance of a navigable channel in Charleston Harbor began in 1851. The Corps also assisted in the survey and design of the first railroad in the region in 1829
  • 1871- A permanent Corps office was established
  • Col. Quincy Gillmore, regarded as the first District engineer, built jetties in 1882 to funnel the flow of the ebb tide. They were completed in 1895. Gillmore was responsible for clearing the harbor of sunken Civil War ships and making the harbor more stable
  • With the outbreak of hostilities in 1917, the District was required to assist with the construction of three new training posts: Camp Sevier in Greenville, Camp Wadsworth in Spartanburg, and Camp Jackson in Columbia. In addition, the District supported construction of the Army Depot in North Charleston
  • 1930s- The system of protected coastal channels was linked to form the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway
  • In response to WWII and the need to train pilots, the District built or expanded airfields at Charleston, Columbia, Anderson, Spartanburg, Sumter, Florence, Georgetown, and Charlotte. Today, nearly all of these fields are in service as public airports. The workforce grew to 1,000
  • 1969- The Environmental Policy Act increased the scope of the Regulatory Program
  • 1985- St. Stephen Powerhouse was constructed and the power turned on. Today, the powerhouse supplies power to more than 30,000 homes
  • 1999- Construction to deepen Charleston Harbor to the now federally authorized 45 foot depth began. Construction was completed in 2004. The maintenance performed throughout the year by the District allows for even the largest container ships to call on the port
  • The Corps has been maintaining Charleston Harbor for more than130 years. Some dredge sites, like Clouter Creek Disposal Site in the upper Cooper River, were planned and constructed in the 1950’s and 1960’s
  • 2008- Charleston District took over the military mission at Fort Jackson from Savannah District making us a military district once again. Since then, the Corps has built basic training camps, headquarters, and dining facilities for Army recruits. Fort Jackson plays home to more than 50,000 Soldiers going through basic training every year
  • 2010- The Charleston District issued the permit for the construction of the Union Pier and Union Terminal, which host the cruise ship industry
  • 2011- USS Yorktown was decommissioned in 1970 and put at Patriots Point as a museum ship in 1975. In 2011, Charleston District did a study on the feasibility of constructing a cofferdam to protect the USS Yorktown
  • 2011- The Charleston District began the feasibility study for the Charleston Harbor Post 45 project to determine if it would be economically beneficial and environmentally acceptable to the nation to deepen Charleston Harbor beyond 45 feet
  • Ongoing- Charleston District remains committed to enhancing a strong national defense and to providing the best in federal engineering for civil programs